Thoughts from your Regional Minister
By: Steve Martin
Kansas Messenger October 2017
Rethinking Regional Assembly 2018
Four of us ventured to Newton, Iowa, where the Upper Midwest Region of the Christian Church (DOC) has its “holy ground.” The event was promoted as All Congregational Gathering and is what we know in Kansas as Regional Assembly. Yet it has almost nothing in common with our event.
Members of UMW congregations gathered throughout the buildings and grounds. Folks were there to renew friendships and to seek new ideas and ways to be the church—and there was ENERGY! The setting was similar to a State Fair, with games and activities and of course food, including a giant S’more!
Regional Ministers Tiffany Williams and Bill Spangler-Dunning led in the Opening/Welcome/Blessing of the day. Tiffany reminded many of their days as campers or counselors, and reminded everyone of the significant effect of camp programs. UMW has one of the strongest programs throughout the Church. Bill welcomed everyone and reminded them that the day provided many optional activities and encouraged folks to explore and to have a good time.
Workshops were offered, along with displays of congregational outreach efforts and some General Units. There were activities and games for all ages, including inflatables for the children and a bungee jump for anyone willing to try it! Bill said frequently, “Have a good time!” The business session was 21 minutes long, for electing officers and approving the Regional Budget. The Gathering closed with worship.
We are in an age when we struggle to reinvent church so that it meets the needs of our current age. Our CCK traditional Regional Assembly is like stepping back to a previous age – not bad, just not the best. We can do better!
The earliest leaders of our Restoration Movement met together in gatherings that were similar to what we experienced in Iowa. Teaching, preaching, fellowship, and the joy of being together made those events important. Perhaps this is a model for us to pursue. The Regional Board will be considering this possibility with hopes that we can create a Regional Assembly, by whatever name fits best, that is difficult to miss!